2015 Recap (Reading + Blogging + Bookstagram)

Since I started my Bookstagram before starting my blog, I am going to add it in this blog post. I am really proud of myself for reaching milestones I have never imagined achieving. Through reading, I managed to read 62 books out of the 50 books I’ve put for my Goodreads reading challenge. *self-pat on the back*

Reading books:

Like I’ve said, I read 62 books *self-pat again* with a total of 22,856 pages. The shortest book I’ve read is Stupid is Forever, a humorous book with 132 pages, written by a local senator named Miriam Defensor Santiago. The longest book I’ve read which I’m really, really proud of because every time I look at this book, I think, how did I ever finish this book? *the self-pat comes back again*. That book is Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas with 648 pages (wow).

My average rating for this year is 4.1.

5 stars – 18 books
4 stars – 33 books
3 stars – 8 books
2 stars – 2 books
1 star – 1 book

If you want to know what that one-starred book is… It’s Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver. Sorry, it was just plain garbage.


Since, I just started blogging on the last week of May, I’m proud that I’m still active until now. *the self-pat will never leave*. For half a year, I gained 355 followers which isn’t bad at all, and earned 6,352 page views.

My most liked and viewed post for this year is How to Bookstagram 101 (Part 1) with 857 page views and 47 likes. *multi-self-pat*.

I never expected to earn a lot of followers for my blog, thank you so much to everyone who followed me and kept on reading/liking/commenting on my post. I deeply appreciate it.


This year, I think I gained over 10,000 followers which is a gigantic milestone for me. Not only that, I gained more friends which I’m truly grateful for. Bookstagram will never be a community without them.

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Thank you for reading my 2015 recap. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. Have a great day everyone, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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[Author Interview] Brooks Benjamin (Author of My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights)

Not so long ago, I sent Brooks Benjamin, a.k.a. the most amazing and the friendliest author, a set of questions for an interview, and he did it with heartfelt and unique answers that have left me awestruck probably. If you don’t know this person, he’s a middle grade author of the book stated at the title. And honestly, he is very, very, very, very friendly. Also, amazing which I have mentioned earlier. Very amazing.

About the author:

Brooks Benjamin and his wife, Jackie, live in Tennessee with their 75 pound daughter, LeeLoo, a sweet and severely demented German Shepherd mix.

Brooks is represented by the fantabulous Uwe Stender of TriadaUS Literary.

1. What/Who inspired you to write?
Every author I read growing up. Whether they wrote books, comics, TV shows, movies, or the dialogue in a video game, they nudged me closer and closer to the moment when I finally picked up a pencil and attempted to string a few creative words together for myself. No joke, the very first “serious” piece I ever wrote was video game fanfiction. I loved the game Golden Axe so I wrote a short story about this kid who finds a unicorn in his woods and when he touches it, it teleports him into this world where Death Adder (the bag guy from the game) is terrorizing a medieval town, so my main character has to find a way to stop him. I actually entered the story into a competition and ended up winning first place, so that basically convinced me that 1) Golden Axe was the absolute best video game ever created and 2) my words might not be completely rubbish.


2. What is the title of your favorite book?
Oh my gosh, what an unfair question! Seriously, how can a person pick their favorite? That’s like asking someone to pick their favorite food (pizza) or drink (Virgil’s Dr. Better) or TV show (tie between The Office, seasons 2-4 and Dr. Who, the eleventh Doctor). *clears throat* Okay, so maybe that’s not too hard. But for books, it is. At least for me. But only because I’m the world’s most useless critic when it comes to books. I can find something I absolutely adore in everything I read. So I think for this question, instead of pleading the fifth, I’ll mash up some of my most loved novels into one long title: Simon Vs. the Vigilante Snicker Holes of Terabithia’s MosquitoWinger (starring Nate Foster).


3. Do you eat when writing? If so, what do you eat?
I write every single morning, so I’m always noshing on some toast when I write. But more importantly, I’m drowning the Army of Writer’s Block in mass amounts of black coffee.


4. What is your least favorite thing to do?
Like as it pertains to writing? Probably having to stop in the middle of a really good scene because I have to go to work. That’s the worst. I’m always afraid I’ll never get that momentum back or I’ll forget the brilliant little spark that made those words so magical or I’ll come back home and find the characters have taken over my laptop and turned my latest manuscript into a recipe for steamed broccoli casserole.
As it pertains to life? Eating steamed broccoli casserole.


5. When you are not writing, what do you do?
I’m always reading. But that’s probably a given. Other things I love doing are playing video games (I’m a huge fan of open-world RPGs), going to the movies, watching TV, shopping (shoes are my weakness), going on road trips with my wife and finding quaint, little BnBs to stay in.


6. What is your all-time favorite movie and TV show/series?
I probably should have read this entire list of questions before I answered that second one. But, oh well. Editing is hard, so I’ll leave my favorite TV show up there and use this space to build a sort of literary altar to the absolute greatest movie of all time: Ghostbusters. It’s just wonderful. I can’t get over how happy that movie makes me. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But my childhood revolved around Peter Venkman, Ecto I, and Slimer. Every time I watch it is a full-on dropkick into the land of nostalgia.


7. Give your best ‘one’ word to describe your upcoming book: My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights.


8. What’s the feeling that your upcoming book will almost finally be released?
This stomach-churning gut flutter of “OMG YAY THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING!” and “OMG I’M SO NOT READY FOR THIS!” with a healthy dose of satisfaction, pride, anxiety, and fear mixed in. But all of that swirled together makes for a very pleasant sensation.


9. Can you give an advice to aspiring writers out there?
I certainly can! It’s probably advice they’ve heard a million times before, but writers saying it and knowing it’s been said that many times already just makes it that much more important to listen to. My biggest piece of advice is this: Keep writing what makes you happy. Don’t let anyone tell you that the story in your head isn’t worth telling. After all, when we put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, we’re doing it for ourselves. The characters, the dialogue, the humor, the sadness are ultimately going to come from a place deep inside of us. And those bits of our soul we pour out onto a page are all beautiful, relevant, and momentous. Whether you’ll be sharing your words with the world or keeping them to yourself, write them. They deserve it, and more importantly so do you.

Thank you all for reading this post. I hope you check his book out and click here if you want to be directed to Goodreads. His debut novel will come out on April 12th 2016 by Delacorte/Random House. Have a great day!


Christmas Break

I know we are all excited for this part of the year because we finally have our time off from school (or work). Christmas is finally done and I hope you got tons of presents (a.k.a. books, obviously). I don’t celebrate Christmas but I did receive tons of books, be it from publishers or friends. I’m very thankful for this time of year.

As I thought this season would be a reading time, it turned out to be not. However, I’ve been simultaneously playing video games and reading books, but video games weigh heavier for this time because I’m playing with my friends and books can be read at school (so that’s a big plus).

I hope you’re all having a great Christmas break! I hope you finished your Goodreads reading challenge because the year will already end. I finished 62 books already out of 50, so I’m just chilling because I feel free though no pressure at all for you guys.

Have a great day, everyone!

How to Bookstagram 101 (Part 2)

What everyone has been waiting for… the second part of this blog post. Fortunately, a lot of people have found inspiration to my previous How to Bookstagram 101 (Part 1) post. If you haven’t read the part 1, you can just read it later– it doesn’t have to be read particularly in order. Now, here I’m going to show you more tips  and advice from successful Bookstagrammers who take breathtaking photos. I just copied their answer because I want you all to know how they give their advice and how they’re full of passion.

Like before, I asked them for advice to share with you all and I also asked what made them stay or kept them going on the Bookstagram community. Now, enjoy!


Abeer from @lookingforabura said,

Okay so… Tips? Advice? Hmmm I’m not really the best person to give pieces of advice but I’ll try to give some tips on how to survive Bookstagram:

  • You need books! Because why are you even starting a “Bookstagram” without books? I am not saying that you NEED TO BUY THEM, NO. You don’t have to. Use your libraries!!! Borrow books and take a photo. That way, you won’t be spending much but you also have photos to put in your account! It’s a win-win situation.
  • You need a theme. Not necessarily complete white background or all outdoor photos, but you need to keep a certain theme to make it easier for you to keep up. Make it something that will define who you are…
  • If you want to gain friends and followers, learn to interact with others. Comment on their photos, not just “like”. Talk to them, ask them questions. I didn’t wake up one day with thousands of followers, I did my job. I made friends with people who have the same passion as me, and now I can say that I’ve made friends from all over the world.
  • Keep posting! At least post once a day. It’s nice to let people know you are active and not just a ghost follower.

What kept me going?

My passion for reading, my love for books and my new found friends on the Internet. Some people say “it’s just Instagram” but no this IS where I can be my nerdy self, it’s a space where I can talk to real people who have the same passion as mine… Bookstagram is a lifestyle.

Hikari from @foldedpagesdistillery said,

I think my biggest advice to new Bookstagrammers is this: Use the library! Bookstagram is not about owning a lot of books. 99% of the time I only buy a book after I have read it and know I love it enough to put on my shelf. Your personal book shelf doesn’t have to be packed to participate.

For more tips from her, you can check this out: http://next-page-please.blogspot.com/2015/11/things-you-should-know-when-starting.html

Rebecca from @bookvibes said,

I guess a tip/advice would be when Bookstagramming is to just be yourself. You don’t have to be reading/buying what everyone is at the moment. The point is to post what you love and to have fun with it most of all.

Another thing I would is to tell people to post what you love. You can go all out or be simple as long as you love what you’re doing. Not for anyone else, you don’t have to have a theme or set filter as I know it can be hard to stick to, but I personally like to change up my filters once in a while, and change the background of my photos periodically. You should never feel that you’re obligated to post something just because you haven’t been on in a few days. A break is good periodically.

Candy from @thebookishgirl said,

My tip: While you’re thinking how to take a good bookish pic, don’t forget to talk to people and connect with other Bookstagrammers.

The thing that keeps me going is the loving environment of the Bookstagram community.

Andie from @_halfbl00dprincess said,

For starters, try to remember that this isn’t a job, it’s all just for fun. So if you can’t post for a few days here and there, don’t stress, we all know real life takes first priority. Interact with your followers, comment on other people’s posts, and be personable. Friendships tend to happen naturally on Bookstagram and for me, that’s what this community is all about. Captions can be hard sometimes and you might now always have something to say, but captions are sometimes the most important part of your post. It’s the lead way to fun and sometimes deep conversation. As for photo taking, experiment with different lighting and backgrounds. Things take time but everyone finds their groove eventually. And lastly, just be yourself and have fun!

Mara from @bookmarauder said,

Be yourself!

Post what you want to see on your account.

Be genuine, be nice and have lots of fun.

I know that sounds super vague but it’s really what it comes down to for me.

Alison from @crimeofrhyme said,

My advice would be to post what makes you happy, put your heart into your photos and be proud of your originality! Many people tend to ask a lot of questions about filters and editing apps and stuff, but I think it’s better to focus on the composition of the photo and how your books represents what you love to read.

Talia from @fictionnotfriends said,

Okay, what I would say is make your profile individual. You want people to remember you, and you don’t want to be like every other account. Give yourself a quirk. Maybe you like music, maybe movies. Something different.

Allissa from @abookishloveaffair said,

My biggest advice would be to just post what you love. Yes, getting followers is always fun, but loving your content and enjoying taking the photos and posting them is what matters.

Be willing to mix things up. Try things. I get so many messages and comments about lighting, what app I use, what camera I use, how did I take this or that photo. I feel like a lot of people aren’t really sure what kind of photos they want, so they often try to emulate others’ photos. Which is fine. But wouldn’t it more fun to just try a bunch of different things and see how they turn out? I feel like individuality is the key on here.

Also, interacting with your followers/other Bookstagrammers is one of the best parts of Bookstagram. It’s a community of amazing like-minded people and we’re all just here to celebrate our love of books.

Alison from @littlebookwormig said,

  1. Post what you like. If you choose a book because you think it will impress followers but you really hated it, that will show through in your photo. If you don’t read or enjoy classics, don’t post them. If you’re not a fan of contemporary, choose something else. If you post a book/series that you LOVE, it will show in the final post!
  2. Don’t worry about follower/’like’ count. The followers will come and the likes will go up, even though it might take time. Just keep doing what you’re doing, update regularly and make sure to interact with your followers. Which leads me onto #3.
  3. When people have taken the time to like your photo, read your caption and leave a comment about what you’ve said, ANSWER THEM! I know that sometimes, when you see 40 comments under your photo, it can seem daunting to respond to them all but you’re doing all this to share a slice of your life/reading habits with your followers and they have responded to that and shown an interest in their accounts in return, not only will they keep following but they’ll actually recommend your account to others! I love to interact with followers and I’ve made several good friends on Bookstagram this way.
  4. I like to mix things up. I use the same filter on most of my photos which gives a kind of uniformity but, every so often, I’ll throw in a different lighting effect completely! Same with backgrounds. Most I use a white background (which is either a white sheet – very technical, I know – or, if I can be bothered that day, a photographic light box which can be picked up quite cheaply on eBay), however, some days I’ll use a black background if I think it will make a certain book ‘pop’ more. Don’t be tied completely to a strict theme. It’s very hard to stay motivated that way, in my opinion. You will have your own style which will shine through in your feed, no matter whether you’ve changed your theme/lighting/background. Be yourself!
  5. Lastly… ENJOY! Bookstagram isn’t a chore, it’s a fun community where you get to show off your precious books! If you aren’t enjoying it, you won’t be motivated to keep posting so make sure and keep things fun!

I hope everyone had a lot of fun reading this long post and gained some helpful insights and advice from amazing Bookstagrammers. If you did, comment what you want next below. Thank you everyone!

Special thanks to Abeer, Hikari, Rebecca, Candy, Andie, Mara, Alison, Talia and (another) Alison.

thanks 1

Here are the links to their Bookstagram accounts, make sure to follow them:
Abeer @lookingforabura: https://www.instagram.com/lookingforabura/
Hikari @foldedpagesdistillery: https://www.instagram.com/foldedpagesdistillery
Rebecca @bookvibes: https://www.instagram.com/bookvibes
Candy @thebookishgirl: https://www.instagram.com/thebookishgirl/
Andie @_halfbl00dprincess: https://www.instagram.com/_halfbl00dprincess/
Mara @bookmarauder: https://www.instagram.com/bookmarauder/
Alison @crimeofrhyme: https://www.instagram.com/crimeofrhyme/
Talia @fictionnotfriends: https://www.instagram.com/fictionnotfriends/
Allissa @abookishloveaffair: https://www.instagram.com/abookishloveaffair/
Alison @littlebookwormig: https://www.instagram.com/littlebookwormig/

[Review] Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus

romancing the dark in the city of light

Title: Romancing the Dark in the City of Light
Author: Ann Jacobus
Publication: October 6th 2015 by Thomas Dunnes Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 288
Format: e-ARC

A troubled teen, living in Paris, is torn between two boys, one of whom encourages her to embrace life, while the other—dark, dangerous, and attractive—urges her to embrace her fatal flaws.

Haunting and beautifully written, with a sharp and distinctive voice that could belong only to this character, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unforgettable young adult novel.

Summer Barnes just moved to Paris to repeat her senior year of high school. After being kicked out of four boarding schools, she has to get on track or she risks losing her hefty inheritance. Summer is convinced that meeting the right guy will solve everything. She meets two. Moony, a classmate, is recovering against all odds from a serious car accident, and he encourages Summer to embrace life despite how hard it can be to make it through even one day. But when Summer meets Kurt, a hot, mysterious older man who she just can’t shake, he leads her through the creepy underbelly of the city-and way out of her depth.

When Summer’s behavior manages to alienate everyone, even Moony, she’s forced to decide if a life so difficult is worth living.

Shelf it on Goodreads!

Also, you can buy it on: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | KoboiBooks

My thoughts:

Well, I have to say that the title is really catchy, but the plot, not so much. As the story progresses, I’m quite losing interest with the book. It started great, but everything felt dragging–the romance, the characters and their adventure. I get the story line of this book, and I know what it wants to convey to the audience, but the characters are really boring.

It could have been better if the characters were a less boring because the mood in this book is not happy at all which is not a book that can help people. Although, the romance is what I really like and how the unexpected feud between two guys lead Summer to a difficult decision because Moony is a great guy, and Kurt is a cute guy (for her).

“Kindness is like hope. It feeds hope. Which just keeps us around to suffer more.”

Ann Jacobus’ writing is great. Honestly, it’s easy to read despite the fact that this was a fast read. Also, there are a lot of dialogues which comprise of French which I didn’t understand, and it would have been better if she has translated it too because it will really help the readers. I don’t know about the final bound if it were translated, but I just read an advanced copy.

This revolves around a story of a girl who just moved in to Paris to go to a school again, having kicked out several times for excessive drinking and smoking. Meeting these two guys has changed her life for better or for worse.

“She could deserve him one day. By all that is good, she will deserve him. Then she’ll kiss him.”

I think this can pass on the New Adult genre if it just has those gritty scenes because the story itself is amazing for it and maybe, the author has a knack for that genre rather than Young Adult. Overall, I would recommend this book story-wise; my only problem is the lack of execution that led me to not liking this book.

3 swords

3 swords for an expected ending.

About the author:

Ann Jacobus writes children’s and YA fiction, blogs and tweets about it, and teaches writing. She has a B.S. from Dartmouth College and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. In her spare time she volunteers on a suicide crisis line, attends her kids’ soccer games, and reads. Her debut YA thriller is Romancing the Dark in the City of Light, out from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press October 6. 2015. San Francisco is home to her and her family.

How to Bookstagram 101 (Part 1)

If you followed me because of my Bookstagram, then good, you already know my Instagram. If you have no idea at all, my Instagram/Bookstagram is @bookwormaniac. So in this post, I will guide you to the world of Bookstagram. This may not be as detailed as you hope it would be, but I will try my very best.

I have gathered a lot of tips/advices from famous successful Bookstagrammers that I know of on Instagram. I am truly grateful that they have replied back to me, and in return, I will give back to you what they have given me.

sam precious

This community is too precious for me to give up.

As suggested by a wonderful Bookstagrammer named Adam from @booksss.0k which I think is a great idea, I will make this post in a conversation format, so that you’ll know what we were talking about.

First, I have asked them on some simple tips for me to share to you, the awesome bloggers, and amazingly, they responded with amazing and inspiring answers. Please note that you’ll see a lot of my replies and comments from time to time. We did this on a direct message (group chat). To say in advance, sorry if this is long, but I hope you find it interesting. Without further ado, this is our conversation:


Emmanuel from @emdawgreads: Well first I think it’s best not to take it too seriously, we’re all just doing it for fun anyway! So yeah, just focus on taking photos you like, and trying to meet new people by checking out and commenting on different accounts. Oh and don’t ask people to follow you, that can get really annoying, because then it seems like you’re just doing it for the follower count and not the books, or photos.

Urooj from @urooj.reads: Agreed even though I take it religiously.


Urooj from @urooj.reads: For starters. Go easy. Take pictures of books you are currently reading. Your hauls. Your recommendations. Follow around. Talk to people. Make sure you comment and tell others if you see a familiar book around. Interact. Bookstagram is mainly about FANGIRLING/FANBOYIN. And presenting your criticism about literature, sugar coated by a pretty picture. And that is the fun part basically.

Emmanuel from @emdawgreads: Haha definitely!

Urooj from @urooj.reads: And well if you are good at photography, all the people who used to make fun of your booknerdiness shall tell you how awesome you are (been there).

Me: Thank you, Rooj! Haha! And thank you, Em!!!

Urooj from @urooj.reads: You know how to treat me now.

Me: You guys are the best!

Andrew from @britbookboy: Totally agree with the advice Em and Urooj have given. Also experiment with your photography and find a style that works for you. Also try to incorporate as much of your personality and sense of humour into your captions so that people get a sense of who you are and what you’re all about!

Me: Thank you so much! Your advice are giving me life!

Urooj from @urooj.reads: Yes! Thank you for pointing out the caption tip, Andrew. IMPORTANT!

Monica from @bookishjourney: Agree with all of the above!! And maybe doing some book tags will help with inspiration? I know it did for me for the first few months of Bookstagram (and then I got lazy to do them… haha). And good lighting too.

Jacqueline from @booklovingjacky: I agree! Also, you shouldn’t stress about the quality of your pictures or the amount of followers you have. And try not to imitate other accounts, though it’s definitely okay to get inspiration from others. 🙂

Jeanette from @myriadinklings: I think one thing to add is to not do too many SFS (Shout-out for shout-out). It’s nice to do some shout-outs for accounts you really like, but I think a lot of people dislike spam of SFS often. The main thing would be to not worry about the follower count, post what you like (find your own style, tags, monthly challenges, etc.), interact with other Bookstagrammers. Also, connecting with users through other platforms such as Goodreads and Twitter really helps form friendships. I hope that helps, I think everyone covered a majority of the topics above.

Chantelle from @huntingforbooks: I love Bookstagram because of how fun it is to take pictures and let out my creativity! You could say to newcomers to not be nervous to interact with “bigger accounts” as this community is so incredibly friendly!

Danny from @thebookorder: I find doing buddy reads with other accounts helps build friendship as well.

Urooj from @urooj.reads: Agreed with everything stated above.

Ava from @bloomsbery: You guys have honestly not left much for me to add, I completely agree with you all. The main thing that drew me to Bookstagram was the interaction, I enjoy reading reviews and learning what a fellow bookworm thought of a particular book/series. Conversing about books is just so lovely and the people on Bookstagram are so friendly and inspiring. I think you guys are the reason that it’s so enjoyable to spend time here.

Chantelle from @huntingforbooks: Awww I agree! I love everyone on here so much.

Ava from @bloomsbery: So for me, the community and friendship are what makes it worthwhile, I really appreciate you all *sends many virtual hugs and kisses*.

Urooj from @urooj.reads: Yaaayy. *I was watching YouTube videos about make up mistakes as it’s my first day of college tomorrow and I don’t wanna end up looking like a potato* and I paused it to send you all hugs! This is huge, ladies.

Vic from @sapphire.reads: I pretty much agree with everything stated above. Haha. I think it’s important that you do this because it’s fun and something you want to do and not to have many followers as possible. Bookstagram is such an amazing community and I’m beyond happy to be a part of it. You’re all amazing. You’d be one pretty potato though, darling. Haha!

Urooj from @urooj.reads: Hopefully. Good night guys. I’m so happy I know you all.

Emmanuel from @emdawgreads: Ah good luck tomorrow Rooj, I’m sure you’ll be fine! And hot damn Ava, did I ask you to whip out the feels?? Hahaha no but seriously I agree, you guys and all of Bookstagram really, are a big factor in why I still do this!

Me: Guys? You left me in awe. Thank you so much for the answers! I didn’t expect to be answered like this. Thank you!

Jacqueline from @booklovingjacky: No problem, Justine! I can’t wait to read your blog post.

Me: I’m going to send you guys the link so you can see. Thank you so much!

Chantelle from @huntingforbooks: Ooh I can’t wait to read it!

Andrew from @britbookboy: No problem mate! Glad we could all help. Looking forward to seeing your post!

Emmanuel from @emdawgreads: T’was a pleasure my friend, excited to see how the post turns out!

Monica from @bookishjourney: Yes yes can’t wait!!

Antonio from @maniacwithbooks: Okay, so I seriously have nothing to say, since everyone has already said it! We should all do this because it’s fun and we love to talk about books and take pictures of them. I also think that, as Andrew said, incorporating your own personality into your shots is definitely essential. The way that people interact with each other makes this such a united community. The simple fact that people from all around the world join together to talk about books and what they like or not is just amazing! I’m seriously so happy to have you all and be part of Bookstagram. Love you! Oh, by the way good luck tomorrow Urooj! And I can’t wait to read your post, Justine.

Urooj from @urooj.reads: THANK YOUUU ANTONIO and Em! It’s 6:30 AM here. Time to get ready. GOOD morning to you all. And BEST OF LUCK JUSTINE.

(It’s evident that Rooj is that feisty, isn’t she? She’s a goddess.)

Me: Thank you, Antonio!!!

Adam from @booksss.0k: Don’t let the pressure get to you, post what you want to post. It’s your profile and you do it for fun. If you aren’t having fun anymore then it is always okay to post new stuff. Don’t feel like you are stuck in a box with what you post, it is all what you make it. Also, follower count DOES NOT MATTER. Sure, it’s good to have a wide audience, but I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we are just normal people. Being online is just part of my life, not my whole life. You don’t see the ups and downs in my time I’m not online. I am normal just like you. Don’t be intimidated, it’s okay. I’m nice and I don’t bite that often.

(When I first talked to Adam, he really doesn’t bite. He’s incredibly nice!)

Urooj from @urooj.reads: True. Very true. And I think that pressure is a given. No matter what, one is bound to feel it. But as Adam said, don’t let it get to you. Bookstagram isn’t you whole life– merely a part of it. And concentrating on your pictures earns you respect. Concentrating on the follow count might earn you digits but not the love.

Adam from @booksss.0k: I felt the pressure to post something tonight because I hadn’t posted in a few days, but it was a deserved break. breaks are good to take once in a while. Just get out and walk around a bit, find you own coffee shop or place to read. I want to feel grounded in reality, so that helps me set apart my reading time from becoming an “obligation” with Bookstagram. I love to read, but sometimes it seems I am reading just for my profile. I try to disassociate myself from my account because it isn’t a job, it’s part of your life, but don’t feel an obligation. You should feel that you post just to share rather than getting the amount of likes you want, getting a new follower goal, or becoming “insta-famous.” Just post because you like what you share. It’s only for you, not your followers.

(Preach, Adam. Preach.)

Adam from @booksss.0k: This may sound strange, but I think it is a good idea to keep a personal account. It definitely gets you out of the mindset of Bookstagram so that you can post for people you know and care about. I hardly ever log onto Bookstagram, but like I said, it isn’t my whole life. I’d prefer to have a few good friends than thousands of followers any day. It is just like a detox to where you feel like a normal human being and you avoid letting the follower count get to your head.

Monica from @bookishjourney: Agreed with Adam. I have a personal account as well and it’s a different atmosphere, but it’s nice not to be on Bookstagram the entire day, no matter how much I love it.

Adam from @booksss.0k: ayyeeee Monica! You caught my drift. I’m not the only one.

(I have been replying once in a while here in this conversation because I had classes, so bear with me.)

Me: Wow! I am speechless. I really love your answer, Adam! Thank you so much for this. I can’t wait to show you guys the output, and I already have read a lot of answers from you guys and another group DM from another set of people (which will be posted on Part 2. The thrill is real). Thanks again!

Adam from @booksss.0k: I would love you to publish this in a conversation format like a chat room. That would be epic. Chat rooms are so 2005, I mean to say group message.

(And here it is.)

Me: I’m going to try. I think it’s a great idea.

Ava from @bloomsbery: I’ve enjoyed being part of this immensely, thank you Justine! Can’t wait to read your post.

Me: Thank you, Ava. You’re so sweet. I really adore your pictures and feeds!

Chantelle from @huntingforbooks: That’s so true, Adam! Sometimes I stay on my personal for up to a week to get a break and refresh my mind. I lack inspiration due to work and school and sometimes feel so awful when I don’t post. But then, I always remind myself that it’s only what I want, and I feel less guilty! Hope everyone has a great day today.

Antonio from @maniacwithbooks: What Adam said was so so true. Post because you want to and not because you feel like you have to. I really loved talking to you guys. Thanks Justine for starting this! I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Alina from @lovelyreads_: Hey. Sorry I am a little late on this. I 100% agree with Adam. I just took a break from social media and it was the best thing I could have done. I am under a lot of pressure because of Bookstagram and all the stuff sometimes and ever since I’ve gained more followers, I feel like I need to post at least 1 photo a day and all my photos have to be book related. And I know that’s stupid and I try not to let it get to me but it’s really hard sometimes. I am a perfectionist and a people pleaser. So the best thing is just to have fun with it and to use Bookstagram as a creative outlet. And to connect with people of course.

Me: Thank you, Alina! I’m glad you’re back. Also, thank you to you too, Antonio. Can’t do it without you all. Thank you, Chantelle! I hope you have a great day too.


Special thanks to Emmanuel, Rooj, Andrew, Danny, Jeanette, Vic, Alina, Antonio, Adam, Chantelle, Ava, Jacky, Monica.

I hope this post helped you in some way that Bookstagram is indeed a wonderful community filled with amazing people. If you need for more tips, I will have a part two. So, stay tuned? Yes?

Here’s the link to the second part: https://bookwormaniac.wordpress.com/2015/12/23/how-to-bookstagram-101-part-2/

Thank you, everyone!

Here are the links to their Bookstagram account, make sure to follow them:
Emmanuel @emdawgreads: https://www.instagram.com/emdawgreads/
Urooj @urooj.reads: https://www.instagram.com/urooj.reads/
Andrew @britbookboy: https://www.instagram.com/britbookboy/
Monica @bookishjourney: https://www.instagram.com/bookishjourney/
Jacqueline @booklovingjacky: https://www.instagram.com/booklovingjacky/
Jeanette @myriadinklings: https://www.instagram.com/myriadinklings/
Chantelle @huntingforbooks: https://www.instagram.com/huntingforbooks
Vic @sapphire.reads: https://www.instagram.com/sapphire.reads/
Antonio @maniacwithbooks: https://www.instagram.com/maniacwithbooks/
Adam @booksss.0k: https://www.instagram.com/booksss.0k/
Danny @thebookorder: https://www.instagram.com/thebookorder/
Alina @lovelyreads_: https://www.instagram.com/lovelyreads_/

[Review] Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #1) by Sarah J. Maas

crown of midnight

Title: Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publication: August 27th 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 418
Format: Hardcover

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

Shelf it on Goodreads!

Also, you can buy it on: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | KoboiBooks

My thoughts:

The plot twist seriously killed me. Seeing that twist made me completely wide awake. I felt the rush of my blood, and the excitement was getting real. This book gave me more excitement than the first one; however, I still had the same problem with what I had on Throne of Glass.

The start of this book did not really pique my interest. Continuing it was somehow forced because who would not read a book that has been recommended by a lot of times? Even though it was forced, it was worth it. My heart was beating so fast when something (aka plot twist) was announced, and it was the best feeling ever.

“I worry because I care. Gods help me, I know I shouldn’t, but I do. So I will alwaystell you to be careful, because I will always care what happens.”

Moreover, Celaena’s character has developed so much. From a professional assassin to a much darker professional assassin whose curiosity is beyond incomprehensible. Even if Celaena started as strong in the first book, she became smarter and way stronger in the sequel. Also, I still do not know how to ship Celaena because it seems like I’m perfect for her (no? okay).

I find it really great that Sarah J. Maas only writes a book in one direction. In other books, it feels like the story is circulating or going around and going nowhere at all, unlike this series. Not to mention that her style of writing is alluring. It is easy to read even though it is a fantasy book. Most fantasy books have complicated stories and complex vocabulary, but this one is just perfectly balanced.

“I wish you to become who you were born to be. To become queen.”

It is evident that Maas likes guys a lot. She always introduces new guys (i.e. Archer Finn) to the King’s Assassin any time possible, and finally, when that guy gets a good spotlight, we (may) doubt our previous ships. Also, it is not only about ships that may trouble us, but also who really is to trust. That’s why I love this book; it may have elements from other books you’ve read, but this one is unique in its own way that is fresh and captivating that will make you flip for more.

The story in this series progresses from a test Celaena underwent to become the king’s personal assassin to her first mission as being one. If you are having doubts or you are just intimidated to read this series, don’t. I may not always like some parts in the book, but it’s really worth it. You can finally fangirl/fanboy with other people after reading this series because the hype is strong here.

4 swords4 swords for Celaena! (woot woot!)

About the author:

sarah j maas

Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series, as well as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series

Sarah lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV. When she’s not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.